It’s hard to say how long I’ve lived with Lyme disease. I grew up in the country and could have picked it up as a kid, I loved to play outside.
My intuition says I’ve had it for awhile now. It could possibly even be the root cause of my autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s, I did a story on that journey here. So to fill you in, last summer I fell into a hypothyroid collapsed state, my TSH was bordering coma levels, because I weaned myself off of my medication to see how I would feel. I found myself in the emergency room because my heart rate, mood, motor functioning and breathing were so irregular without the proper thyroid hormones. I think I did this to myself because honestly, I’m just sick of not feeling great and I thought perhaps I could just heal on my own. My main symptoms with Hashimoto’s revolve around energy, which make sense given that the thyroid is responsible for that. I need more rest than most people (9-10 hours of sleep a night plus often a midday nap) and struggle to take on more than one big project or outing a day without getting burned out. My body (mostly my hips) gets achy and my brain fogs up a lot too.
I used to hate on my nervous system for being so sensitive but my health journey has been the biggest teacher in helping me find self compassion. After my hypothyroid fall last summer, I had a friend recommend a naturopath doctor, Dr. Dara Thompson, to me. I still had a dream to put Hashimoto’s into remission and wasn’t going to quit.
It took us about 6 months to stabilize the thyroid and run a slew of other tests (more on those here). Because my symptoms had only improved about 50% from the protocols we established from the test findings, Dr. Thompson decided I should be tested for Lyme.
The test alone from Igenex costs $1,800 but I knew I needed it! The results came back in December 2022, that I was positive for tick borne relapsing fever and because the test wasn’t completely negative, meaning something showed up but it wasn’t enough within the test standards to deem it a positive, for the main Lyme bacteria borrelia burgdorferi. With this information and my symptoms, my doctor wanted to treat it.
I couldn’t have been more thrilled because of how awful I was feeling. I felt like I had arthritis in my hips and nervous system limitations similar to MS, where it was a challenge for me to take in every day stimulation and process it normally. I couldn’t even go to a restaurant without my body releasing a surge of adrenaline and then I would crash hard after. I felt really disassociated from my body and life a lot of the time.
I was scared and alone most of the time. It made me realize that I had to love myself through this no matter what. Some days that involved staying in bed, getting off coaching calls early, cancelling plans, saying no to fun outtings with friends and choosing more rest over exercise.
At the beginning of January 2023, I started my first round of antibiotics, doxycycline, for 30 days. My symptoms got worse which is a good sign because when the bacteria dies it releases an endotoxin that causes a flare up of inflammation in the body. I called on all of my self care practices and invested into an infrared sauna blanket to get through it. This is the one I have here, you can get 15% off with code: JILLIANBREMER
My doctor took my elevated symptoms as a great sign that we were treating the right thing and continued me on the doxycycline for another 60 days. I also layered in another antibiotic called alinia for 60 days and then rifampin for 14 days after the alinia. Thankfully the extra cold and rainy winter season in San Francisco helped me relax into the comfy cozy healing vibes I needed. I’m also grateful that my body was able to tolerate the 90 days of antibiotics as some people have digestive trouble with that and have to stop.
After the 90 days, I started on 90 days of methylene blue to help further destroy and remaining bacterial biofilms and help my mitochondria regenerate. It’s supposed to help with energy and mental cognition too. Along with that I’m taking an herbal tincture called A-Bart to also help break up biofilm and fight off any last of the bacteria.
I definitely do feel a big improvement but I would say my energy and mental clarity still feel challenged if I go beyond my limits with travel or work and my hips flare up occasionally, especially around my period. My doctor says this is normal and that I’m still healing, it’s a long and slow journey. I’ve been supplementing this journey with boswellia, phytoprofen and glucosamine to help with the severe joint pain. I’ve been on UltraFlora Restore and MegaSporeBiotic since I started the antibiotics as well. During the course of medication, I did three rounds of high vitamin IV treatments but on the third one I got a migrane from the glutathione so we stopped. You can only detox from Lyme as quickly as your body allows so working with a practitioner who can pace the bacteria die off is key.
I have about 30 days left on the A-bart & methylene blue and then will retest my antibodies in August to see if we’ve cleared the lyme infections. I also had some other active infections that we’re going to test to see if they are still active as well. If they are, the next step will be taking low dose naltrexone to help with the inflammation to allow the body to heal. And who knows what else if the Lyme is still active, I’m continuing to do what I can on my end and will continue to prioritize my healing this summer.
So it’s not over yet, more updates to come! I’m sharing this with the intention to let you know that you are not alone on your health journey and to keep taking good care of yourself, you are worth it.